New Member: Emily Bragg

Please welcome new member Emily Bragg sponsored by Elisabeth

Wiener. Emily is a native of Durham and very proud to be a part of The Durham Rotary Cluband all that it stands for. Her father, Dr. Ewald (“Bud”) Busse, was a Member of our Club for years and was local President in 1973. She grew up hearing about Rotary and all the good things it was doing in the community and beyond. Emily attended college at Duke (1978) and went on to receive an MBA from the University of Chicago (1980) after which she moved to New York City where she began her career at Citicorp in Investment Banking. Several years later, she began working in Stamford, Connecticut at Xerox Corporation.

As a reitree, Emily teaches yoga in Durham at Bikram Yoga Durham as well as working part-time as a standardized patient (patient actor) at The Duke School of Medicine. She also has two home-based businesses, selling a nutritional product and home and personal design consulting. Emily is also sponsored by Elisabeth Wiener. Welcome Emily.


New Member: Kenneth (Ken) Cutshaw

Please introduce yourself and welcome new member Ken Cutshaw.

Ken is an accomplished globalist, assuming career leadership assignments in business, academia, law, hospitaity, government, non-government organizations, political campaigns and diplomacy. Ken has held positions as CEO and President and as Law Firm Partner and General Counsel, and as an Academic Dean and Adjunct Professor. He served in the Administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. He was a Co-Founder of a post-Soviet private University in the Country of Georgia where he served as its first Law Dean and remains very involved on its Board. Ken was President of Quiznos and EVP of Church’s Chicken, and is now involved in an Asian restaurant holding company. Ken and his wife, De, live in Hope Valley. They
have three children.


Bulletin: Justin Sacco of LRC Properties


It’s always fun and interesting to attend off-site meetings; I generally learn some new, fun facts about various locales in our community. Monday’s meeting at Hi-Wire Brewery, however, might just take the cake. Samples of the company’s wares were available for those who ostensibly had the afternoon off, calling to mind Irish Rotary Club meetings where an open bar is a regular amenity.

Hi-Wire is located on Taylor Street, in a newly renovated but less visible portion of the old Golden Belt textile mill. The circa-1900 factory originally produced the cloth drawstring bags that loose leaf tobacco was sold in. Over the decades, Golden Belt reinvented itself several times, manufacturing everything from women’s hosiery to cigarette boxes (as cigarettes transitioned from roll-your-own to factory pre-rolled), but eventually was shuttered and the facilities were given to the Durham Housing Authority.

DHA tried to convert the buildings to residential units, with limited success, so the property remained vacant and fell into disrepair. Around 2008, Scientific Properties purchased Golden Belt, and handsomely renovated the Main Street-facing portion into stunning art galleries, office space, and the popular Cotton Room event space on the third floor. Much of the existing structure was preserved in accordance with historic covenants, including floor-to-ceiling windows and massive heart pine support beams.

In 2016, LRC Properties, in collaboration with Alliance Architecture, took over the Taylor Street side of Golden Belt, known as the Cordoba Property, the last un-restored brick-and-timber factory in downtown Durham. [Read more…]

Program Report: Goldie Byrd – Alzheimer’s


Judy Kinney, who runs the Durham Center for Senior Life and has been a member of the Club since November, introduced Dr. Goldie Byrd, the project leader for the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Disparities Engagement Network as well as the Executive Director of the Center for Outreach in Alzheimer’s Aging and Community Health (COAACH) at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro.  

Dr. Byrd began with some of the basics of the disease. Alzheimer’s, of course, is one type of dementia. There is no cure and nothing that slows down the progression.  The primary risk factor is age…it’s a disease that slowly destroys the brain and may be doing so for 15 years before any symptoms emerge. Ultimately it leads to death. 1 in 3 seniors will die of Alzheimer’s. 

Dr. Byrd was handicapped by having to condense a much longer presentation into 20 minutes, however, she approached it with good humor and several important themes emerged. 

First, if there is anything we can do ourselves to avoid or delay the disease is to TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES. She pointed out that Alzheimer’s is a neurological disease and the best defense is the same thing recommended for cardiovascular disease and lots of other problems that old age can bring with it, that is, healthy diet, exercise, stress reduction and, above all, don’t smoke.  The stress reduction piece of this formula always surprises me, but she pointed out that approaching life cheerfully reduces the chemicals the flood our system and protected us when avoiding saber tooth tigers was a major concern. I guess nobody lived long enough to get Alzheimer’s, which was only identified as a separate disease in 1906. Maintaining close relationships and keeping your mind active is also important.  [Read more…]

Program: Ashleigh Bachert – Durham Sports Commission

I took a look at the Durham Sports Commission’s website in preparation for writing this and noted that besides our speaker, Executive Director and Rotarian Ashleigh Bachert, the Durham Rotary Club is very involved. Rotarian Ingrid Wicker-McCree the Athletic Director at NCCU, and honorary member Dan Hill, who introduced Ashleigh are both on the board. Also on the board is former member Bill Kalkhof, the retired President of Downtown Durham Inc. Rotarians Shelly Green, the current head of Discover Durham and her successor Susan Amey were there at the meeting. Discover Durham nursed the Commission into existence and currently shelters and otherwise supports it. No doubt the city and county officials in attendance had a roll as well.

Ms. Bachert must have taken lessons from Kalkhof, whose updates on Downtown Durham were rapid fire and jammed with statistics and other facts that were impossible to summarize in these program write-ups.

Even if you didn’t know it already, the genesis of the Sports Commission in Discover Durham was pretty obvious with its emphasis on attracting sporting events to Durham to bring fans into town to spend their money and enjoy all of our attractions. Sports tourism is what Ms. Bachert called it.

Dan Hill introduced Ashleigh Bachert

To illustrate how this happens, Ms. Bachert went through an example of what it would cost a family to have an 11-year-old to play basketball competitively…it added up to about $20,000 annually. This would have shocked my father, whose primary investment for me when I was playing high school sports was fifty cents per practice for the two root beers from the drink machine that I would chug afterwards. If it was going to cost him even the 60’s equivalent of $20K I would have had to have been satisfied with a plywood backboard in the yard and a free library card.

[Read more…]

Program – Tom Miller: Preservation Durham

Who would believe a program about cemeteries could be so hilarious and yet informative? Tom Miller of Preservation Durham did just that.  Thanks, Tom.  In his introduction of Tom, Past President Don Stanger pointed out that our speaker had steered Hope Valley’s designation as a National Historic Register site through the rigorous nomination process.

As Tom pointed out, the success of any historic preservation group is measured by how much it can “slow down” the destruction of historic sites.  By that measure it appears to me that Durham began turning the corner by the early 21st century.

Tom Miller was introduced by Don Stanger.

Among Tom’s special interests are Durham’s cemeteries, especially its first public cemetery—Maplewood.  Earlier burials were on church grounds or in family plots.  Established in 1872, Maplewood was indeed the town’s first public amenity.  It was not universally popular.  Some residents probably thought proper streets or public water were more important.  But not recently arrived carpetbagger, Louis Austin, who had been drawn to Durham because its politics were dominated by northern Republican business interests.  Austin agitated for a ball-field instead.  To promote his cause and annoy his opponents he repeatedly fired a canon until it grew so hot it exploded.  Without family or funds, the mortally wounded Austin was interred in an unmarked pauper’s grave.  Diligent sleuthing in the late 20th century revealed its location, leading to the erection of a grave marker.

One of the most handsome and imposing mausoleums in Maplewood belonged to the Duke family.  Early members of that prominent family were initially interred there.  In 1935, shortly after the completion of Duke University Chapel, remains of the foremost Dukes—Washington and sons Ben and Buck—were transferred to the small Memorial Chapel situated to the left of the chancel.  Poor Brodie Duke, Ben and Buck’s older half-brother—and not as temperate in taste or love as they—remained behind in Maplewood.

Other significant individuals interred in Maplewood include Bartlett Durham who donated land on which a train station was built for the North Carolina Railroad and around which houses and business establishments began springing up in the 1850s.  Soon this town would be named for Bartlett Durham.  Another is W. T. Blackwell, the richest man in Durham, whose “Bull Durham” smoking tobacco generated his fortune.  Mail order tombstones, mostly from the early 20th century, are scattered about.

(A Hebrew cemetery would be established a few years later at Beth El Synagogue and in the 1920s the city of Durham constructed Beechwood Cemetery located near White Rock Baptist Church for African American burials.)

Submitted by Allen Cronenberg